Review: The Mermaid’s Daughter

By: Ann Claycomb

Available on: Amazon, Audible, and Barnes and Noble.

Overview:

Blurb: Kathleen is a soprano singer. She’s also cursed with a strange affliction all the doctors in the world and quite figure out. It feels like every step she takes is on broken glass and sometimes, it feels like her tongue has been cut out. Kathleen and her girlfriend Harry, who is a mezzo, try to deal with the downward spiral of Kathleen’s affliction, with help from Kathleen’s father Robin, his wife Tae, and an honest to gods selkie.

Tags and Trigger Warnings:

Bastardization of Mythology, Blood, Death, Drug Use (Prescription), Drug Use (Illicit), Eating Disorder, Food, Ghosts, Gore, Homophobic Language, Horror, Infidelity, Magic, Magical Realism, Mental Illness, Mermaids, Miscarriage, Murder (Discussed), Mythology, Off Screen Infidelity, Off Screen Sex, On Screen Sex, Poor Coping Mechanisms, Pregnancy, Purple Prose, Romance, Self-Injury, Sexual Assault (mentioned), Suicidal Thoughts, Suicide, Supernatural Fiction, Violence, Violent Imagery, Witches, Women’s Fiction

Body Count: multiple across generations

Overall review:

  • Thoughts:
    • This was quite the read. It was queer, interesting take on the classic Little Mermaid. The soprano Kathleen makes for a great diva. She’s self centered and bratty at times, loving and apologetic the next; a real trial when she’s up and when she’s down. However, I still liked her as a human, grossly flawed though she was. Kathleen’s girlfriend Harry was a bit of a doormat. She had so much to deal with and in the end, well, the ending wasn’t what I expected.
  • Was it engaging?
    • Room for improvement-until the third act, I struggled to get through it, found some of the characters a little hard to commiserate with.
  • Favorite Character:
    • The witches-the way they were written, in a group but still in first person
  • Least Favorite Character:
    • Tom. I don’t quite know why, but his mercurial moods annoyed me.

Rating out of five: 3.5 out of 5

To Read or Not To Read (Again):

  • Not To Read Again: Happily Donated for Someone Else to Read

The Technical Specs:

  • Genre
    • Technical Genre: Mythology & Folktales , LBGT Literary Fiction, Women’s Literary Fiction, Fairy Tale Fantasy
    • Theo Genre: Magical Realism, Faerie Tale, Modern Faerie Tale, Mythology, Women’s Literature, Queer Fiction
  • Page count: 448
  • POV: Multiple 1st Person and Limited 3rd Person, depending on the focus character of the chapter
  • Publication information:
    • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01GZS3692

Representation, Morality, and Sexism in Media Tests:

  • Bechdel–Wallace Test: Pass
    • In order to pass, two female characters must talk about something other than a male character.
  • Deggan’s Rule Test: Fail
    • In order to pass, there must me at least two non-white human characters in the main cast in a story not primarily focused on race.
  • DuVernay Test: Fail
    • In order to pass, there must be fully actualized characters of color.
  • Ellen Willis Test: Fail
    • In order to pass, two related characters would still need to work to carry the story if their genders happened to be reversed.
  • Mako Mori Test: Pass
    • In order to pass, there must be a female character that gets her own arc.
  • Mary Sue/Gary Stu Test: Pass
    • In order to pass, the main character must not be completely flawless and persecuted by other characters needlessly.
    • Take a Mary Sue test here!
  • Sexy Lamp Test: Pass
    • In order to pass, the plot must not fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy-looking lamp.
    • Post-It Note Caveat:
      • Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance?
  • Tauriel Test: Pass
    • In order to pass, there must be at least one woman in the story who is competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character.
    • Also, if a female character has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, she must not suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest.
  • Vito Russo Test: Pass!
    • In order to pass, there must be a character on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum spectrum who is a character beyond their orientation. Furthermore, they must actually affect the plot and be something something beyond a caricature or punchline.
      • What does LGBTQIAP+ stand for? It stands for: Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual/Bi-romantic/Bi-gender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic+.

You can read more about the various Media Tests I employ in my reviews at GeekFeminism.wikia.org or by clicking the header on the individual test. Why include all these? Because I can, because representation matters, and because I’m neurotic. That’s all! Happy reading!

Review format updated 5 January 2021.

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